Suggestions for Kayak purchase?

Well, my search for a “less than 16’ kayak” has lead me to the following choices:

  • Necky Manitou 14
  • WS Tsunami 140
  • CD Breeze

    I’m not new to kayaking, and speed and performance in this size boat are my priorities. My boating will be a variety of inland lakes, rivers, and on Lake Michigan. I’d be greatful for any advise, ideas, suggestions, or alternatives to consider.


My opinion
CD Breeze…Ahhhh no…CD does not advise this boat for big water. It is designed for lakes…rivers…on a calm day. I have never seen one of these boats on the Chesapeake Bay.

Tsunami - Very stable, good for big water on a choppy day, designed to keep the paddler dry in chop. Very heavy, takes a bit of effort to keep going. I would want this boat on lake Michigan.

Not very easy to turn…and if you are over 5" 8’ the rudder will not work…not enough room for the peddles to move back and forth.

Manitou 14 - Fun fun fun boat. I almost bought it but fell in love with the Cape Horn 15. Perfect for inland lakes, rivers. Perfect for lake MI for playng in the surf/bay. Not the type of boat you want for touring on open water on a choppy day . Also, when the boat hits a wave and you bury the bow you are going to get soaked. Also when you hit a big wave…the bow design produces a annoying thud/click sound.

Hope this helps…no perfect boat for every one. I tried them all…and picked the one I liked best after test paddling 20 boats.

I’ve tried manitou 16,
And it’s somewhat fast, but the Old Town cayuga 146 is even faster and has a nice ergenomic design. It’s stable, so it gives you all the confidence. I have tried both, and cayuga is faster.

Ok, why?
Why less than 16 ft? You are not new to kayaking and want speed and performance. With a bit of work on paddle strokes you can probably get a relatively narrow 16-17 ft boat around in nearly anywhere most people can in their 14’ boats.

Do whatever you want, but it sounds like you are limiting your choices a fair bit.

I agree.
Why not choose a boat that works well for the conditions of use rather than starting with specifications that may not work well?

I like my
P&H Orca 14 real well. The plastic is better than some others out there and it is comfortable and pretty fast.

Suggestion, forget the lake paddling
and ocean and get into white water. Way more fun.

Thanks for your response.

Regarding the whitewater suggestion, I already have 2 whitewater play boats.

Regarding the length of the boat, I only have storage room for a boat that is less than 16’.

An other advise, suggestions, or options?

I’ve seems like there have been favorable reviews about the Manitou. I’ve also read about some quality issues with the Tsunami…(?)

How tall are you
It’s definately a small person’s boat, but it’ll handle all the big water the longer boats can at 15’9". You just have to keep up with the boat. P&H Vela. One of the guys in the Bitches in TITS2 is in one - white on white with red trim.

I’m 6’ tall and 165lbs

what ww playboats do you have?

Being Lanky
you should be able to fit into some of the more performance boats in the 15’ range rather than their “rec tourers” you mentioned. I say this with the assumption that you can roll since you have to ww playboats already. Maybe the CD Squamish, Easky or even one of the the newer shorter touring oriented boats (23" beams) from Riot and Pyranhna. It would be as “barge” like as you head into bigger water.


Kayak choice
I tried a variety of boats because I have a back problem and comfort is important. I also will be kayaking in small lakes some large ones and Lake Huron at times.

I tried the Tsunami and Cape Horn but found the seats very uncomfortable for me. The Tsunami seemed confining to me as it has larger thigh braces. I found the Old Town Cayuga 146 much more comfortable and it tracked better than any others I tried and also turned very well. The adjustable foot braces stay put and are easy to adjust with a button while you are paddling as I also found some tended to wobble or slip out of place. I am a 56 year old woman and can easily lift the Cayuga into my truck as it is only 50LB wich was also a selling point for me.

I also like the small day hatch in the Cayuga which is right in front and can carry several small items such as sunscreen ,insect repellant, kleenex, a snack.

Vela likely won’t work
Darn - I don’t know of much else that covers the ground this boat does in that size.

Manitou 13

Necky Elaho
One model of the Necky Elaho is 15’ 10", and that’s a great boat and quite sea-worthy. It has a skeg, a diamond multichine hull, it’s very playful and yet reasonably fast. It’s designed for a slightly smaller paddler than you, but that’s true of all shorter boats. If you’re an experienced paddler you’ll be fine in it. It rolls well too.

Though they’re right at 16 ft,
what about the Enlightened T16.0 or the new wood-decked W16.0?

Or, at 15’3", the QCC 400X.

Good luck,


Elaho DS
I’m 6’ 165 (and was heavier when I got the boat) and have an Elaho DS (drop skeg). The boat seems to need my weight to get its waterline. It is the best outfitted cockpit of any stock one I’ve seen in a sea kayak.

I’ve paddled mine on the coast of Maine and in challenging conditions on Champlain. The boat is a true sea & play kayak. It is not fast but it is quick. You don’t get playful and short combined with fast.

It weathercocks pretty severely in quartering seas and needs its skeg in following seas – but that’s why it’s there. Some love surfing the original Elaho more than most other sea kayaks.

Necky stopped making the drop skeg version a couple of years ago, but there are many around.

The extant version of the Elaho is a different boat - longer, less rocker and ruddered.

I’m certainly open to other options, but I know I need this boat to be in plastic.

Thanks for all suggestions.

Good plastic - Prijon

Touryak and Seayak are not the fastet, but very popular. The Barracuda is too long, the Catalina has a too small cockpit.

The VCP Avocet RM would be a fine boat, maybe a few inches too long.